Airline complaints rocket in wake of ash cloud

The Air Transport Users Council (ATUC) has received three times as many complaints than in the previous year in the wake of the volcanic ash cloud.

James Fremantle, the council’s industry affairs manager, said at the last count at the end of August, ATUC had received complaints from more than 3,000 British consumers who had not yet received their compensation or believe that they were paid less than they were entitled to.

He is expecting the number to be considerably larger when details of the next count are released in the middle of next month, while adding the figure could just be the tip of the iceberg with many consumers simply not bothering to make a complaint.

Fremantle added: “In an ideal world we would want all complaints dealt with efficiently and not coming through to us. The fact that complaints are still coming through to us six months after the event is not pleasing either.

“Having said that, it was an unprecedented event and some sympathy has to go to airlines, but this is six months on.”

He said Air France-KLM had proved to be one of the worst airlines by only paying for a single night’s accommodation despite the length of time customers were stranded while Monarch has capped the daily rate for each affected consumer with those stuck in Spain receiving just £20 a day while passengers caught in Egypt have been reimbursed to the tune of £40 a day.

Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have received the fewest number of complaints in relation to the number of passengers affected.

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